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Investing in Whisky

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Buying an expensive whisky, holding onto it for a while without opening it and then selling it at a profit is a perfectly legitimate investment strategy  but it is not enjoying whisky. Personally, I do drink or intend to drink all my whisky. If you don’t then that’s fine, but you are also part of the problem why my whisky habit is becoming more and more expensive. As a drinker, it’s annoying when collectors snap up stock of a whisky I really want to try and that old supply and demand metric is like Viagra to RRPs.
I like whiskey.
I always did, and that is why I never drink it. ― Robert E. Lee

But that’s the state of the current whisky market, it wasn’t always like that and won’t be like that forever. Investors follow trends, when some other spirit becomes more profitable than whisky they will move on, causing an oversupply of whisky stocks to push prices back down to maintain sales. Historically, when this happens, distilleries close or are mothballed, I only hope my favourites survive the next whisky slump, but I look forward to seeing the prices come down a bit before then.

But what if you do want to invest in whisky rather than drink it?

Firstly, I’m no expert so you probably shouldn’t be listening to me for investment advice but look for very limited releases (in the <1000 bottle range) or critically acclaimed whisky, something that wins lots of awards but was not produced in huge quantities. If an established distillery unfortunately closes, it’s a safe bet their whisky will appreciate in value once supplies dry up. Also keep an eye out for any popular expressions that go out of production (often replace by a new expression).

Additionally, if you collect whisky for an investment you need to take special care of the bottle and packaging. Store out of direct light and somewhere not too damp and not too cold. Keep whisky bottles that come in metal tubes out of the tube to avoid unwanted moisture forming inside and affecting the label. If you buy from auction, take note of the fill level as this is important to collectors and beware of unscrupulous sellers who buy ‘empty’ bottles of highly sought after whisky and refill it with something else!

Like I said, I collect whisky to drink, not to on sell, but plenty of people do make money from whisky and I’m ok with that because there will always be something new for me to try; it’s just a shame that some excellent whiskies will never leave the bottle.

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